If you’re anything like me, you might’ve come to the realization one random day that skinny jeans kinda suck. Most tight-fitting pants not only restrict your movements but your lifestyle too.
Okay, I’m not saying your pants are the source of all that’s wrong in your life. However, they are on your body nearly 24/7 and that can substantially impact your everyday life, unless you’re a nudist (no shame!). That’s why picking up a pair of the best tactical pants on the market might provide some much-needed freedom in your life.
Truth is, our phones, wallets, and keys are getting harder to carry in shallow, lackluster pockets. It seems like so many accessories these days are just waiting for the right moment to spring out of your pocket, never to be seen again. “Great, now I need to drop another few hundred on a pair of AirPods.”
This is where tactical pants enter the conversation. Cousin to the cargo pant, tactical pants offer storage for ALL you carry and more. The standard Velcro and Zipper pockets ensure you never have to retrace your steps in a desperate attempt to reclaim your car keys. With reinforced materials and more space for your legs to breathe, tactical pants are an alluring article of clothing for even those off the battlefield.
Now, the rugged nature of tactical pants might not suit everyone, but it never hurts to shake things up. Gone are the days of tactical pants only being worn in stuffy police stations and sterile army barracks. Life is a battle, and tactical pants can help you storm its trenches. Lucky for you, we’ve scoured the market for 8 of the best tactical pants to serve your every need.
5.11 Tactical is a leader in the tactical apparel industry, and the Ridge Pant epitomizes this fact. These pants are sleek and modern, yet still offer every feature you’d want in a pair of tactical pants. For a more classic style, the CQR Men’s Tactical Pants are another great choice coming in at a solid price point.
You can’t discuss the best tactical pants for men without bringing up 5.11 Tactical. This brand is one of the top dogs in the tactical apparel world and for good reason. The company was started with a desire to introduce robust, tactical equipment to the civilian sector.
The Ridge Pant is a well-rounded, modern, tactical pant that offers just about everything you’d expect. The slimmer cut means these pants won’t completely kill your style if you’re in a non-tactical setting. They’re versatile enough to be worn with some steel-toe boots or just a pair of sneakers.
In addition, the Teflon finish, aka that coating used on non-stick pans, means these pants will resist water and stains around the clock. The assortment of pockets will provide enough space for you to carry any gadgets you might have outside of standard carry. Overall, The Ridge Pant is a high-quality, reinterpretation of the tactical pant that offers a ton of versatility.
Material: 67% Polyester, 33% Cotton | Pockets: 8 | Padding: No | Water resistant: Yes | Colors: 5 | Sizes: 28Wx30L-44Wx38L
The Tropicfeel Zip-off Pants are your best choice when hitting the trails. They’re water-resistant, packable, and convertible for whatever weather awaits you. Yes, convertible as in they can go from pants to shorts.
It’s easy to make fun of convertible pants, but you won’t be laughing when you only have a pair of shorts and your legs have turned into a mosquito-feeding frenzy. Not to mention, the adjustable hems ensure your pants fit close to the ankles and don’t flop around in the wind. Why carry a separate pair of pants and shorts when you could have both on you at all times?
The stylish modern design is one of the nicer-looking options available on the market. Of course, these can be used outdoors, but they would also be a great choice for those who travel and live active lifestyles. While these pants may lack a heavy-duty construction, they make up for it in a lightweight, flexible package.
Material: 79% cotton, 19% Lyocell, 2% Spandex | Pockets: 7 | Padding: No | Water resistant: Yes | Colors: 3 | Sizes: S-XL
When discussing tactical pants, you might be asking yourself if all of this functionality comes at the sacrifice of comfort. Fortunately, the Relwen Combat Pants are a great choice if you want a balance between tactical and comfortable.
The half-elastic back waistband allows you to slip these on with ease and they’ll never feel too tight around the waist. The tapered fit also keeps them slim and stylish without impinging movement. The cotton and nylon blend makes these pants breathable and flexible.
While the design of the combat pants was inspired by U.S. military apparel in the 1940s, they do feature fewer pockets than other tactical pants on the market today. However, these pants have adopted a “less is more” philosophy.
Material: 80% cotton, 20% nylon | Pockets: 3 | Padding: No | Water resistant: No | Colors: 4 | Sizes: 30-38
The M-Tac Aggressor Flex Tactical Pants are the best choice when you need to get work done. Now, these aren’t the type of pants you’d wear in the office–these are for when you’re getting your hands dirty.
The design is still very tactical, but the adjustable waist and leg cuffs can make for a slimmer silhouette. Since they feature a modern and minimal design, these pants don’t draw as much attention as some other tactical pants.
When it comes to the materials, we have the usual suspects: polyester and cotton. However, there’s also some spandex blended in there, allowing for some much-needed stretch when you’re in a tight space. You also have the option to insert knee pads for extra protection when you’re on the floor all day. These can be game changers for those who work twelve-hour shifts and need something reliable.
Material: 35% Cotton, 63% Polyester, 2% Spandex | Pockets: 6 | Padding: Yes | Water resistant: Yes | Colors: 6 | Sizes: 28Wx30L-42Wx36L
Out of the hundreds of options on Amazon, The CQR Men’s Tactical Pants take home the first-place trophy. The design is classically what most people associate with tactical pants–a looser cut with a ton of pockets. They offer plenty of hidden compartments and even feature dedicated rifle magazine pouches for easy access.
The Dura-tex rip-stop material is breathable, making these a great option in warmer conditions. They also come in like a million colors, including a radiant red option for a tactical Santa look around the holidays.
All that being said, you’d want to pair these with an overall tactical get-up. Much like cargo pants, tactical pants like these can be difficult to wear if the style is overtly utilitarian. I mean, you literally have rifle magazine pouches on the front of your pants. These will be right at home in tactical/outdoor settings, but you might want to avoid a night out on the town with them.
Material: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton | Pockets: 8-10 | Padding: Yes | Water resistant: Yes | Colors: 33 | Sizes: 28Wx30L-46Wx30L
Off The Grid is a relatively new brand attempting to bring its unique spin to the tactical and outdoor apparel industry. Among their selection of rugged options is the Trailblazer 5.0 pant, a tapered, minimalistic pair of tactical pants.
At first glance, these really don’t look like your stereotypical tactical pants. However, if you explore them more in-depth, you’ll find a plethora of hidden and well-integrated pockets. In addition, the legs feature a pre-bent knee shape, which makes it much easier to bend down and move around in these pants.
The simplified design honestly draws more comparisons to a pair of chinos than a pair of tactical pants. They’d go great with some sneakers and a T-shirt or flannel to fit the casual look. If you want some extra storage without looking like a paratrooper in the snack aisle, these pants are the answer.
Material: 98% Cotton, 2% lycra | Pockets: 9 | Padding: No | Water resistant: No | Colors: 7 | Sizes: 28W-30Lx44Wx34L
Maybe your wallet’s lost some weight recently, and you want a pair of tactical pants that won’t break the bank. Well, the LA Police Gear Battle Rattle Stretch Tactical Pants are the best value for your dollar.
While that name is honestly way too long and complicated, these pants are the opposite. The design of the Battle Rattle Pant is admittedly simple, but that’s actually a feature. These pants don’t have any unnecessary flourishes or additions to hike up the price–they just meet the baseline needs for a pair of tactical pants.
As the name implies, they’re made of an athletic, stretchy material to help you climb walls like the guy in the product images. While the rip-stop material is durable to a degree, they might not cut it as a full replacement for a dedicated pair of carpenter pants. Although, they do have a whopping 12 pockets! Seriously, these pants can probably out-pocket your backpack. If you simply need something basic to essentially carry the world in your pockets, these pants will serve you perfectly.
Material: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton | Pockets: 12 | Padding: No | Water resistant: Yes | Colors: 7 | Sizes: 30Wx30L-44Wx36L
It’s immediately clear ThruDark is a brand that doesn’t mess around when it comes to utility. I mean, the website design feels like a loadout screen from a Call of Duty game. Even though this isn’t a video game, the Charge Trousers will make you feel like a Rambo-style hero. These are absolutely some of the best tactical pants money can buy if you can afford them.
Designed by ex-special forces and made in Italy, these pants are nothing short of utilitarian. In addition to the standard tactical pant features, they’re also compatible with a climbing harness, and they feature internal boot hooks.
Now, these pants feel like something a soldier in the year 2030 might wear, but they’re honestly geared more for outdoor activities. These would be great for those serious about sports such as skiing and climbing. These are for people who are dead serious about what they’re doing–hence, why the price is so steep. If you do decide to purchase these pants, you will surely feel like royalty when you wear them.
Material: Utexbel Cotton | Pockets: 6 | Padding: Yes | Water resistant: Yes | Colors: 4 | Sizes: XS-3XL Regular
What to Look for in the Best Tactical Pants
A crucial factor when determining if you’ll be wearing these pants to war or just out to the bar is the style. Tactical pants come in a variety of shapes and sizes, able to fill whatever gap may exist in your wardrobe.
Those who couldn’t care less about looks and are only concerned with functionality will likely benefit from a straight-cut, reinforced offering. Those who want a rugged look while going about everyday tasks might opt for a tapered option with an emphasis on style.
Material is an important component of just about any pair of pants you entrust to cover your body. Cotton is frequently used in tactical pants, and for good reason–it’s the default fabric choice for most apparel.
But if you want something that truly stands up to the many facets of life, you should look for a pair with a blend of polyester and spandex. Polyester is what often adds a water-resistance element to clothing, and spandex, well, stretches with your every move. Finding pants with a blend of materials is usually a good indicator that they will be more robust for all kinds of situations.
The construction of your tactical pants also has a huge impact on their versatility and functionality. Assuming you want to get your hands dirty with these pants, you’ll want a pair that is, at the very least, reinforced in key areas.
We’ve all had a pair of pants that has split right down the crotch. No? That’s just me? Anyway, tactical pants are often reinforced in hotspot areas like this to prevent such an issue from arising. If you want a pair to last, make sure they’re built to do so.
In summary, if you want some of the best tactical pants on the market, the 5.11 Ridge Pants are your best bet. They feature all of the necessities for a pair of tactical pants but they’re modern enough to be worn in many different settings. The CQR Men’s Tactical Pants also offer high value in a design more closely associated with tactical pants.
Tactical pants offer a ton of versatility and convenience when you’re on a mission–whether it be an actual military operation or just a trip to the supermarket. Yes, they can be overkill for those outside of the battlefield, but there’s an undeniable, rugged appeal to these pants. You can carry just about anything you might need and you’ll be ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.
Civilians can absolutely wear tactical pants and there’s a reason the market has developed to produce such products. Tactical pants have caught wind in the fashion world, so brands have jumped on the bandwagon with their interpretations. It was once a bit odd to wear them as a civilian, but that stigma has definitely died down over the years with their rise in popularity.
While tactical pants may feel baggy compared to other types of modern pants, most of them aren’t that loose at all. Yes, tactical pants tend to have a roomier fit but this is because they’re designed to accommodate more movement from the wearer. Some tactical pants have a straight cut through the leg, but there are plenty of options that taper for those desiring a slimmer profile.